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Reach Your Dreams

One Minute Read Series

Why I Can’t Move Forward?

Recent research suggests that our behaviors are often controlled by brain circuits that work without our conscious awareness. Neuroscientist and Professor Mark Waldman explained to us three reasons why your brain stops you from moving forward and finishing your goals. 

  1. Lack of neurological motivation. The brain’s motivation scheme is based on pleasure. Your goal/desire should bring a real reward that will immediately release the neurotransmitter dopamine. When the release of dopamine is not part of the immediate feedback neural loop, it can sometimes be very hard to fight our subconscious.  When it is immediate, it improves your conscious ability to create strategies that will help you achieve your goals. If you haven’t associated your goal with pleasure, your brain isn’t interested in helping you achieve it.  Don’t focus on the negative possibilities, instead focus on the benefits you’ll get. If you find that your energy decreases when you complete a project, visualize the real benefits you will receive when you complete it. Also, assign yourself a daily (even hourly) reward as you progress toward completion. The more you associate your goals and dreams with positive emotions, the less you need to push yourself to do the job.
  1. Don’t let yourself have an unconscious negative conversation with yourself!   Maybe you’re convincing yourself not to try. Unconsciously, we listen to the negative conversations we have with ourselves all the time. This is actually a normal part of the proper functioning prefrontal lobe. If you think that might be the case, try this: Enter all the reasons you don’t want to complete your project, and make a second list of all the reasons why you do want it. Pay attention to both lists and listen to your intuitive voice. Ask yourself the question: “What do I really want to do? 
  • Do I really want to complete this project? 
  • If I finish, will it improve my life? 
  • Ask yourself: “Are these negative thoughts and feelings fair?”  
  • What is the worst that can happen if I fail?
  • What is the worst that can happen if I succeed?
  • What will happen if I don’t try?  Will I regret not trying in the future?
  • Is somebody else better or more successful at this?  Can I learn from them?
  • What advice will your future self give you to help you complete the goal?

We all have doubts. Having negative thoughts on a piece of paper gives them less power over your brain.  Help your brain out even further by crossing off each negative thought.   When you don’t think about negative thoughts, your brain is free to pursue goals that promise useful valuable rewards and results. Remember, when you feel a difficult dark cloud over you, control it with your thoughts. If you notice a negative while trying to reach your goal or while doing your job, put it on paper, cross it off and leave it. 

  1. Lack of discipline and commitment play a large part in our success. If you’re not determined to achieve your goals, forget it. To finish what you started, you need to be ready to keep going and keep going (life is hard, most of the time). Some people believe that visualizing the target makes it possible, but this is magical thinking, you have to find commitment deep within yourself and push forward. “Try, Try Again.”  While it’s important to visualize your goals, it’s also important to take action. To achieve an important goal, you need a written “work” plan (thinking is not enough to motivate your lazy brain most of the time). You need to record all the real obstacles that prevent you from completing the project, and then visualize and record simple strategies to overcome those obstacles. Get an accountability partner,  to increase your chances of completing it by 50 percent to 70 percent, so set a fixed deadline for a friend or co-worker to see and be able to measure your progress. After recording three small achievements that you achieve each day, you can reward your brain every day, therefore, motivating it enough to plow forward and build invaluable self-confidence.

To summarize:

  1. Increase your Dopamine with Rewards
  2. Pamper your prefrontal lobe by decreasing doubt
  3. Be committed by visualizing success daily and getting an accountability partner


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